Sky looked at the bright side of Bradley Wiggins’ abandon today when the Giro d’Italia rolled on without him. It opens the door for the other eight riders, said sports director Dan Hunt, especially Rigoberto Uran in third overall.
“We’ve had our ups and downs, and our problems, but if you don’t want problems, don’t come to the Giro,” Hunt told Cycling Weekly.
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He spoke while sitting in Sky’s black Jaguar team car this morning. The sun cut through the rain clouds, giving hope for the next week and half of racing.
“It’s not a situation that anyone wanted, but at the end of the day, we still have guys up on GC,” he continued.
“We’re not a team that gets a problem and sits and sulks, we have enough fire power to make life uncomfortable for everyone else. In 2011 when Wiggins dropped out of the Tour with a broken collarbone, we had no one for the overall. Now, we have numbers when it comes to the mountains, we are probably one of the strongest mountain teams. We will go down fighting.”
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) leads the overall classification by 41 seconds over Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). Uran sits in third at 2-04 minutes.
Three others – Robert Gesink (Blanco), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) and Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) – are also two minutes back from Nibali.
Today’s stage to Cherasco, the longest of the race at 254 kilometres, offers calm before the storm. This weekend, weather permitting, the Giro climbs to Bardonecchia and Galibier.
Uran won the first summit finish stage to Montasio. Last year, claimed the best young rider’s white jersey while placing seventh overall.
“He’s a tough little f****r, he’s a great bike rider, a great handler, he knows where to be in the bunch,” Hunt added. “It’s hard to say what’s possible because we’ve never had him in this position, but he looks great.”
Bradley Wiggins climbs into the Sky team bus, his Giro over
Wiggins’ health a priority
Wiggins lost ground on yesterday’s rain-soaked stage to Treviso and finished 3-17 minutes back. He climbed immediately on the bus and effectively closed the door on his Giro d’Italia.
Last winter, he targeted the Italian Grand Tour. With Chris Froome given the right to lead the Tour de France team, little is known of Wiggins’ next move.
Pulling out of the Giro d’Italia early, said Hunt, gives Wiggins options.
“Our priority as a team has to bee the health of our riders, without your health, nothing else matters really. You can’t ride your bike if you’re not healthy. There’s not point of ruing the next four to eight weeks for the sake of trying to push on for a couple more of days.”
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Photos by Graham Watson